Sharifah Rodziah Barakbah

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Sharifah Rodziah Barakbah

Spouse of the Prime Minister of Malaysia
In role
31 August 1957 – 22 September 1970
MonarchAbdul Rahman
Ismail Nasiruddin
Abdul Halim
Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byToh Puan Rahah Tan Sri Mohammad Noah
Personal details
Died12 March 2000 (aged 80)
Penang, Malaysia
Resting placeKedah Royal Mausoleum
Spouse(s)Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj
Sharifah Hanizah

Tun Sharifah Rodziah binti Syed Alwi Barakbah (1920 – 12 March 2000) was the third wife of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the founding father and first Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1920, Sharifah Rodziah is of Hadhrami-Malay descent; her Arab ancestors had migrated from Hadhramaut and settled in Kedah for several generations.[1] Being of the Barakbah clan, she is related to Syed Sheh Hassan Barakbah, the former Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) of Penang.


Sharifah Rodziah was actually the younger sister of Tunku's university mate in England, Syed Omar Barakbah. Tunku and Sharifah Rodziah married in 1939 when he returned to Kedah from England upon hearing news that World War II was about to erupt in Europe.

She became Tunku's third wife after the death of Meriam Chong and his divorce from Violet Coulson. However, the marriage did not result in any offspring. Sharifah Rodziah became a loving stepmother to Tunku's children from his first marriage to Meriam Chong. They later adopted three children, Sulaiman, Mariam and Faridah.

Tunku Abdul Rahman's eldest daughter, Tunku Khadijah said in an interview to The Star that Sharifah Rodziah “loved my father dearly to a fault. She did not want to share him with anyone else".[2]


Sharifah Rodziah played an important role in rallying political support for her husband during Malaysia's tumultuous formative years.


She died due to pneumonia, in Penang, on 12 March 2000 at the age of 80 and was buried next to her husband's grave, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj at Kedah Royal Mausoleum in Langgar, Kedah.


Honour of Malaysia[edit]

Places named after her[edit]

Several places were named after her, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Macam-macam Ada: Memo untuk Pak Lah (Bahagian Satu), by Hussien Alattas, published by JB News Media Network, 2006, ISBN 983-40962-8-3, pg 254
  2. ^ The nation came first for Tunku Archived 6 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Star, 26 August 2007
  3. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1970" (PDF).


  •, 24 March 2000.
  • Putera Negara; 1987, Firma Publishing, Aziz Zarina Ahmad.